Why We Need Skeptics in the Skeptiko Forum

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#41
Equally as embarrassing as uncritically making up the story before it's even available to you. You should wait for the report to come out before jumping to confusions about what it is and what it isn't.
All I can do is discuss the information available. That's what we have all done in this thread and others about the Rudy OBE. When more information becomes available, I will be eager to read it.

When did the surgery occur, and when was the interview taped? I know Rudy passed away in April 2012.

~~ Paul
 
#42
Equally as embarrassing as uncritically making up the story before it's even available to you. You should wait for the report to come out before jumping to confusions about what it is and what it isn't.
Do you make the same accusations against Alex? Doesn't sound like you are to me.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#45
Why? Did Alex conjecture about just-so-stories without a shred of evidence?
Alex asserts that the Rudy OBE is evidence for mind outside body. But, as you said, "You should wait for the report to come out before jumping to confusions about what it is and what it isn't." Doesn't that pertain to every opinion on the story?

~~ Paul
 
M

Michael

#46
Alex asserts that the Rudy OBE is evidence for mind outside body. But, as you said, "You should wait for the report to come out before jumping to confusions about what it is and what it isn't." Doesn't that pertain to every opinion on the story?

~~ Paul
Alex talked about the evidence that is presented. You invented hypothetical details about what might have happened after the operation. No evidence just pure conjecture. That's a huge difference and representative of the kind of pseudo arguments that have really become more than tedious to deal with. In my opinion, this is just one more reason to keep the debunking restricted to a special forum like this one right here. :)
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

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Member
#47
Alex talked about the evidence that is presented.
Really?

"I mean, come on, who do you want to discuss this video with... someone who acknowledges the obvious implications of cases like this... i.e. that consciousness survives death and therefore atheism is an even bigger joke than the baby Jesus thing."

Surely you're not suggesting that the skeptics are the only ones making certain assumptions, apparently before all the evidence is available.

~~ Paul
 
M

Michael

#48
Really?

"I mean, come on, who do you want to discuss this video with... someone who acknowledges the obvious implications of cases like this... i.e. that consciousness survives death and therefore atheism is an even bigger joke than the baby Jesus thing."

Surely you're not suggesting that the skeptics are the only ones making certain assumptions, apparently before all the evidence is available.

~~ Paul
It is an obvious implication. I don't see Alex claiming that it establishes the fact, simply that this is the implication. To argue that it is not, is you making a specious argument. There is no similarity in kind between Alex arguing from the presented evidence and you blowing smoke.
 
#49
Well I probably wouldn't have believed that this story was reliable, simply based on this interview, and would have treated it just as skeptically as Paul, if I hadn't had my own unique OBE experience at around 11 years old, that makes all the difference in my view. :) I was a complete skeptic on apparitions right up until 2007, I'm not so sure anymore. It doesn't feel important for me to convince anybody of my own beliefs, although I like chatting to people about them when I get the chance so I can share different ideas.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#50
It is an obvious implication. I don't see Alex claiming that it establishes the fact, simply that this is the implication. To argue that it is not, is you making a specious argument. There is no similarity in kind between Alex arguing from the presented evidence and you blowing smoke.
Did I say somewhere that my questions establish the fact that this cannot be a real OBE? If you think that questions about what happened are "blowing smoke," then I daresay you simply don't want anyone to ask questions. But so what else is new?

~~ Paul
 
M

Michael

#51
Did I say somewhere that my questions establish the fact that this cannot be a real OBE? If you think that questions about what happened are "blowing smoke," then I daresay you simply don't want anyone to ask questions. But so what else is new?

~~ Paul
There is nothing new about you weaving doubt about the reliability and believability of the evidence. But you have nothing real to offer. Oh, you say, we don't know how the patient's story evolved, we don't know who talked to him, we don't know what was said. Your goal is simply to taint the evidence with as much doubt as you manage to invent. So yes, you absolutely do imply this is not a real OBE, but since you have no real evidence you can't come right out and say so. It's a passive aggressive move. You question the evidence all right, but all your questions are meant to dismiss the reported evidence and make it fade in importance. More reason to keep these old and tired maneuvers confined to the debunker sandbox right here.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#52
There is nothing new about you weaving doubt about the reliability and believability of the evidence. But you have nothing real to offer. Oh, you say, we don't know how the patient's story evolved, we don't know who talked to him, we don't know what was said.

These are critical questions. We do not know what happened outside the boundaries of the current story. And I'm not sure how we can ever find out.

Your goal is simply to taint the evidence with as much doubt as you manage to invent. So yes, you absolutely do imply this is not a real OBE, but since you have no real evidence you can't come right out and say so.
I have no such goal. I simply have questions that are relevant to the story. You may infer that I think it's not a real OBE, just as you can infer that Alex believes it is. Why is that relevant?

It's a passive aggressive move. You question the evidence all right, but all your questions are meant to dismiss the reported evidence and make it fade in importance. More reason to keep these old and tired maneuvers confined to the debunker sandbox right here.
If you think this is passive aggressive, then you must think that any questioning of anecdotes is such. In that case, how do you decide what to believe?

~~ Paul
 
M

Michael

#53
These are critical questions. We do not know what happened outside the boundaries of the current story. And I'm not sure how we can ever find out.

I have no such goal. I simply have questions that are relevant to the story. You may infer that I think it's not a real OBE, just as you can infer that Alex believes it is. Why is that relevant?

If you think this is passive aggressive, then you must think that any questioning of anecdotes is such. In that case, how do you decide what to believe?

~~ Paul
Questioning data is not passive aggressive, just your style of questioning is. Your style in this case being the doubts you raise in advance of any information that would justify raising those doubts. And this is a classic debunking maneuver. You raise unfounded doubts and then you preclude the possibility of ever resolving the doubts you raise by saying: And I'm not sure how we can ever find out. The story itself is too impressive, you can't attack it directly so you go outside of the evidence presented - "outside of the boundaries of the current story" - into the hypothetical world of your own doubts where all sorts of scenarios can be assumed to be true but never resolved..
 
C

chuck.drake

#54
I may be wrong, but I think there is something else at work as well. Some of us, I think, look at this kind of evidence from a wider perspective, considering ALL the accounts in a cumulative manner. I know I do this. And it becomes not so important to me if some details in specific cases are ambiguous. Other people, for whatever reason look at every single case and focus exclusively on the details that are the weakest. What is their motivation for doing this? What is my motivation for how I view things?
 
#55
You appear to believe that the determined outcome of reasoning isn't related to the thing being reasoned about. Why would you assume that?

What does free will have to do with accurate reasoning? That is, if you can even describe how free will works.

~~ Paul
"The determined outcome of reasoning. . . . .," sounds an awful lot like: "We will hang you after your fair trail."

(Or am I missing something? God knows I constantly doubt myself when discussing complex issues and a thing that might seem axiomatic to educated people, sometimes flies over my head.)

How can you arrive at a balanced decision between two competing alternatives, if you are certain there is only one pre-determined outcome available? What exactly is going on in your mind when you deliberate between the truth or falseness of a proposition. . . . . What is happening in that internal dialog when you begin with doubt and ignorance, and eventually end with a resolution? Do you patiently wait until the pre-determined light bulb goes off. . . . ? Or do you go through the motions of a mock deliberation, knowing all along that you will make the one decision you are capable of, the decision that your environment and your subconscious is fated to select ? To me, that doesn't sound like accurate reasoning - it sounds like simple discovery, or computation. I think proper 'reasoning' requires a multitude of open-ended decisions all along the way, from the very moment you choose to enter the conflict.

If you take me to dinner, and the waitress asks, "Hamburger or Fish ?", then I have to make a decision. Maybe I like both today, so I really don't care, and I just pick one for the hell of it. This is not reasoning, this is random, and has nothing to do with free will - (but it's still a decision that was not pre-determined.)
If you suggest that the fish is cheaper than the hamburger, and I should "think about it," then I will have to engage my reasoning. I'll have to ask myself : Which is healthier, which is quicker to cook, have I had hamburger already today, which is more culturally conscious, is this place famous for its fish, is Paul just being cheap........and on and on
It is true, you know, that every last one of these factors will be severely influenced by my past experiences, my education, my social awareness, allergies, taste, -- an almost infinite catalog of memories; and most of these factors will be handled mechanically, as in discovery, or computation. But the SUM TOTAL of these factors under consideration RIGHT NOW - has never ever been encountered before in the history of the universe. We could go to the same café, a hundred more times, and every last time, would be uniquely different. And so the factors in my final decision will also always be different. If you consider each factor as being worth, say, 10 points for hamburger and 10 points for fish, AND you knew ahead of time WHICH factors I was going to include THIS TIME, and which factors I was going to ignore, then you could guess with a certain probability what I was going to choose, based on past choices. . . . . But this isn't the past. This is an entirely new choice. Maybe fish was at 98 percent and then the next table orders a burger and the delicious aroma just overwhelms me.

I realize this is not 'libertarian free-will,' but I don't know anyone who argues in favor of that, anyway (except a few libertarians) But it isn't completely random, either. And it doesn't reject the notion that a determined cause will have a determined effect. Rather, I suggest that an adult human mind prior to decision making is home to a host of factors, all of which may be determined in one way or another, but the polymorphic assembly of these factors is a unique beast whose nature cannot be determined before the fact. And you cannot expect a pre-determined decision, based on an undetermined cause.
 
#56
I may be wrong, but I think there is something else at work as well. Some of us, I think, look at this kind of evidence from a wider perspective, considering ALL the accounts in a cumulative manner. I know I do this. And it becomes not so important to me if some details in specific cases are ambiguous. Other people, for whatever reason look at every single case and focus exclusively on the details that are the weakest. What is their motivation for doing this? What is my motivation for how I view things?
I can only explain my own method for evaluating evidence, not just for psi stuff, but for pharmaceuticals and stuff like that, too.
Usually I'll try to look at the evidence used to support the boldest claims of an effect first, and then I'll look at evidence claiming to not find the effect.

I'll then try to compare and contrast the methods used and look to see if there's a trend. If the methods used in studies/reports where no effect was found are the ones where the potential for biases were screened out or controlled for ("high quality evidence"), and the studies that did find an effect are mostly or exclusively of "poor" methodology (case reports, retrospective studies, etc), then that makes me extremely suspicious of the claim.

It can also work in the reverse, too (a claim of no effect coming from low quality studies, and a detection of an effect from high quality ones.) It doesn't matter.
 
F

Frank Matera

#57
I may be wrong, but I think there is something else at work as well. Some of us, I think, look at this kind of evidence from a wider perspective, considering ALL the accounts in a cumulative manner. I know I do this.

And it becomes not so important to me if some details in specific cases are ambiguous. Other people, for whatever reason look at every single case and focus exclusively on the details that are the weakest. What is their motivation for doing this? What is my motivation for how I view things?
Yes I've used the jigsaw analogy before to describe the way the Pseudoskeptics think to the rest of us and I think they don't even realise how "Illogical" their thinking is. They misuse terms such as "critical thinking" to justify what is in effect delusional thinking and confirmation bias.

Perfect example is when you have overwhelming evidence of something like a Mediumship or Psychic prediction. They break it down into individual pieces to discredit the entire picture.. just like a jigsaw. In particular this tactic is used when it comes to something like a Psychic prediction such as Scott Russell Hill's 9/11 prediction. Focus on something like "He said a missile hitting the WTC not specifically plane!!!!" and focus and focus on that with so much irrelevant weight... yet ignore his statement about "a terrorist attack in Sept of 2001 on the WTC from the air"... back in 1996.

Then they break it down into statistical analysis and use "Missile" as a "Miss", "WTC" which is a hit but then will claim that was Warm reading and an educated guess because the WTC has been a target before... so can't give that as a "Hit" and before you know it the entire prediction is 90% misses.

Meanwhile the rest of the logical intelligent world who aren't using preconceived idealogies are listening a statement like "A terrorist attack on the WTC in SEPT of 2001... its like a missile or something hitting the building from the air" and we are thinking Holy Shit he nailed it!!!

So whilst I have a 1000 piece jigsaw of a horse and it is missing 50 pieces.. I can still look at the overall image and be almost certain that the jigsaw is an image of a horse. The Psuedoskeptics won't... not because there isn't enough evidence... but simply because they don't believe horses can exist on a jigsaw.
 
#58
Hmmm....undocumented stories don't offer much reliability or validity (for the reasons outlined by Ian Stevenson, among others). So now the suggestion seems to be that a story's validity and reliability increases the less you know about the story (as in, it is unreasonable to raise doubts prior to knowing the details).

And then we have the suggestion that the details don't matter anyway, that it is the total which matters. Two dozen crab apples aren't two dozen crab apples, but one Golden Delicious.

I guess we can wait for the report, but if (as Ian Stevenson suggested) the goal is to gather testimony before information is exchanged, I don't see how gathering more stories after information is exchanged addresses the problem.

Linda
 
#59
For myself, I really do appreciate the ability to watch video showing first hand interviews containing the experiences of witnesses and/or the experients themselves. As far as statements go, it's the most accurate way of recording subjective experiences in my view.

I'm extremely suspicious of written reports even those contained in valuable studies. Often they don't contain a full transcript, if they do, the data sometimes appears inconsistent (witness some of the inconsistencies in transcripts between Penny's study, and her paper on patient 10?). If they include only quotes, these often seem cherry picked by the author to support their conclusions, and we do not know what else of importance that is missing, that the author felt was of no consequence.

I like to see the witnesses body language, and how they express what they are saying. Often it contains so much more information than a simple transcript, and it's a damn sight more reliable. More video recordings of interviews please!
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#60
Questioning data is not passive aggressive, just your style of questioning is. Your style in this case being the doubts you raise in advance of any information that would justify raising those doubts. And this is a classic debunking maneuver. You raise unfounded doubts and then you preclude the possibility of ever resolving the doubts you raise by saying: And I'm not sure how we can ever find out. The story itself is too impressive, you can't attack it directly so you go outside of the evidence presented - "outside of the boundaries of the current story" - into the hypothetical world of your own doubts where all sorts of scenarios can be assumed to be true but never resolved..
I did not raise doubt in advance of any information. If there was no information, this thread would not have been started.

If we can't go "outside the boundaries of the current story" to investigate it, then you are suggesting we merely buy it without critical analysis. Then why don't you just admit that you want to believe it without question?

~~ Paul
 
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